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County assessor – loyal to his native land

Mark Lowderman has spent more than two decades assessing home values, and he said if he had to put a dollar amount on his home state of Colorado, it would be priceless.A Colorado Springs native, Lowderman has remained close to home, except for his college years at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Two of his summers in college were spent in San Diego, Calif., and, although he said he enjoyed the warm climate and the Pacific Ocean, his heart belonged in Colorado.Lowderman graduated from CSU in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Many college graduates who don’t find jobs in their field of study become frustrated or disappointed, but Lowderman said he felt lucky he couldn’t find a job in his field. “If I would have been able to find a job in my field, I probably would have had to move away,” he said. “I only got a few job offers, and Hallmark was one of them,” he said. “But they wanted me to move to Kansas City, Mo., and I didn’t want to do that.” After Lowderman wasn’t able to find a position as a graphic artist in Colorado, he pursued other options – and ended up following in his mother’s footsteps.In 1981, Lowderman began working for the assessor’s office in El Paso County. His mom had worked in the county assessor’s office for 50 years, and Lowderman had worked there during his high school years. “I would work there over the Christmas holiday,” he said. “I drew maps and things like that. It was kind of an on-the-job training thing.”Lowderman worked full time for the county for a couple of years and then – because the pay wasn’t so great at the time, he said – decided to start his own business. As an independent appraiser, he worked with residential and commercial properties. In 1995, Lowderman returned to the county, starting out as a commercial appraiser and working his way up to deputy county assessor. Last January, voters elected Lowderman El Paso County assessor.It’s his job to appraise every property in the county every other year for tax purposes. He said he often is mistaken as the “bad guy” – the tax collector. “I assess the value of a property,” Lowderman said. “It’s the county treasurer’s job to collect property taxes.” But Lowderman said many people don’t distinguish between the two, and he hears his share of complaints from taxpayers.And then there are those strange requests.As the deputy assessor, Lowderman said a woman came to him to appeal the value of her home, which had been assessed at $55,000. She asked him to double the value of her home so she could impress family members at their reunion. “I informed her that by doing so, it would also double her taxes,” he said. “And she said ‘really – hell with that!'”Lowderman said he enjoys his job, for the most part, and tries to find humor when it’s the not-so-good part.His off-work time is spent with his wife, Terry, cruising in one of their hot rods or traveling in their motor home. “We have a motor home that we say we use to take the hot rods to shows,” he said. “We actually bought the motor home for our dog so that we could take the dog along with us. That’s a damn expensive dog.” He and his wife also take trips in their motor home with their daughter and her family.The Lowdermans have been married for 21 years and have lived in Falcon since 1999. “We just love it out here, we should have done it years before,” he said. “The neighbors are just wonderful and everybody kind of knows everybody. We just love it.”More on Mark LowdermanWhat is your favorite thing about Colorado?I really like the change of seasons.What was your favorite vacation?We loaded up our hot rods, our motor home and our dog and went to Indianapolis for a car show. We saw the (Indianapolis 500) speedway and went to a couple of races while we were out there.Name someone you admire.I really admire my mom, Netta. The longevity … how many people do you know have worked 50 years for the same organization … and how she handled adversity when her home was almost washed away in a landslide. It turned her life upside down, but she saw through it with dignity.What is your favorite movie?“American Graffiti.” The car that John Milner drove, the yellow coup, is what prompted us to build our yellow coup.

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